September 29, 2010

The Other 9 1/2 Weeks

On Monday, someone asked me how long I had to go till my due date and I answered, without really thinking about it, "nine and a half weeks". We both sort of tittered nervously and moved on to something like "Isn't this weather lovely?"

9 1/2 Weeks is one of those films that people either loved or hated, and even now, people aren't sure whether to admit they liked it or even saw it.

I was 17 when I saw it and remember squirming with embarrassment in the cinema next to my two girl cousins. It was just so sexual and in-your-face and stirred up all sorts of very strange feelings that seemed so at odds with our daily HSC study sessions and chaste kissing sessions at the local blue light discos. The post-movie critique between us went so far as to admit that Mickey Rourke was cute and Kim Bassinger wore nice hats and we left it at that. However, there are scenes from that film which have remained etched in my memory, even though I've never seen the movie since.

So with nine and a half weeks to go till I give birth, I've been thinking about all the ways in which MY nine and a half weeks is different to Mickey and Kim's.

1. At 30 weeks pregnant, I am beginning to resemble more Mickey Rourke than Kim Bassinger. And not handsome, suave Mickey from '9 1/2 Weeks', oh no . . . I am morphing into Mickey from 'The Wrestler', complete with swollen ankles, dark roots and a whole lotta ex-boxer attitude. But if my face starts puffing up like his, for God's sake someone prick me with a pin!

2. The theme song, it goes without saying, will change to 'You Can Leave Your Fat On' and the accompanying dance (if you can call it that) will be some raunch-less hip swivelling on the fit ball and a few pelvic floor lifts.

3. Forget about dripping honey all over my body and rubbing it sensuously along my burgeoning thighs. Just give it to me straight - into the mouth, preferably on toast, with butter. And do you really think one piece is enough? Keep 'em coming buddy!

4. Forget, too, about the gift of white lacy lingerie and suspender belt. Make mine a few dozen pairs of giant cotton knickers with double gussets and a maternity bra made out of two teepees.

5. Don't bother brushing my hair and treating me like a doll. Get the razor out and shave my legs will you? For I cannot reach them and hair leggings are simply not 'in' this spring.

6. And finally, about all that sex business. In the words of Darryl Kerrigan, tell him he's dreamin'!

September 21, 2010

The Difference Between Kids & Cats . . .

The difference between kids and cats?

Cats generally have more hair (unless you're unfortunate enough to be a child of ours cos John and I are two extremely hirsute individuals. Can someone please make sure our children are kept in hair removal treatments after we accidentally smother each other to death-by-underarm-hair in bed one night? Thanks.)

But apart from the hair, there's not much difference, if this little vignette is anything to go by.

Do you still want to have kids? Do ya?? Really???

Cos this is EXACTLY what most mornings are like with a toddler (hopefully minus the baseball bat).

The sleep-in is dead. Long live the sleep-in.

Video by the very clever Simon

September 18, 2010

Telling it like it is . . .

So this morning Jack jumps into bed with us at the unusually late hour of 6.15am and proceeds to wiggle his way down to the bump to have a word with the baby.

Sometimes this involves singing, sometimes just a hello and a kiss, sometimes a more detailed discussion about the minutiae of our daily life. Not only will this baby have some idea of how life works in the Barraclough household and what it can expect upon exit, it will also have an appreciation for the entire back catalogue of Michael Jackson.

This morning, however, Jack only had one piece of vital news to impart to the baby, which wriggled around in my belly when it heard Jack's voice, eager to soak up today's pearl of wisdom.

In a very serious voice, he said "Did you know you will be coming out of mummy's big vagina? When it gets even bigger, that's when you come out."

Good to know.

September 14, 2010

Serially serious about cereal . . .

Despite only being a few posts in, you will have already noticed several references to cereal.

My name is Michelle and I am addicted to cereal.

("Hello Michelle")

Remember the row of cereal boxes on the kitchen shelf in Jerry Seinfeld's apartment? I'd rather browse through that row of cereal boxes than be let loose in Peep-Toe Shoes with a platinum Amex provided by a sugar daddy. And Jerry's boxes were lined up alphabetically in true control-freak fashion. What more could a pregnant cereal aficionado with a fierce nesting instinct ask for?!

In my opinion, Goldilocks was far too discerning. I'd have scoffed all three bowls of porridge, hot, cold or just right.

Cold. Porridge.
It's THAT bad.

I'm putting it down to pregnancy cravings, but in reality I've always loved cereal. The pregnancy is possibly just an excuse to indulge in more than one bowl per day. And when I say 'more than one bowl per day' I mean 'less than five'. As in four.
Fortunately I like the healthier varieties. Anything with a bit of crunch and dried fruit and you've got me. Although I'm partial to a spoonful of Jack's Cheerios right before I serve them to him.

I am eating cereal for dessert after every meal. There's breakfast dessert, lunch dessert and dinner dessert. Including the actual breakfast main course of cereal, there's your four bowls.

I'm telling myself that drinking nearly a litre of skim milk a day with the cereal can't be that bad. Can it?

I'm also telling myself it's better than cravings for chocolate or chardonnay or anchovy smoothies or beetroot & peanut butter sandwiches.

But still . . . it does make me wonder what effect it will have on the bump. I imagine my amniotic fluid is a milkier consistency than most ("just like a milkshake only crunchy"), and that s/he is swimming around collecting Cheerio rings on his/her fingers. Will there be a snap, crackle and pop when my waters break?

What cravings did you have when you were pregnant? Were they real cravings or just an excuse to indulge? Anonymous comments are allowed :)

September 10, 2010

In Which I Need To Be Royal

As I sat at the table this morning, still trying to finish reading the Spectrum from last Saturday and consuming my post-breakfast bowl of cereal (more on that later), I was so bloomin' happy to hear that today's temperature in Sydney is going to reach the balmy heights of 21 degrees!

That can only mean one thing - no more boots! Or socks. Or anything else I have to bend over my watermelon-proportioned belly to try and manoevre on to my feet. Because it's getting really bloody hard and my disappointing lack of attendance at pre-natal yoga classes means that trying to bring the foot to me, rather than the other way around, can mean more groin injuries than a football team.

So it's thongs and ballet flats and anything other footwear that can 'slip on' from now on.

Except for the pesky business of my walks. The one bit of exercise I am still doing. Lack of properly shod feet would be an excellent excuse to give up the walks, but fear of an arse the same size as my belly makes that a rather scary proposition. I need to keep walking and I need lace up shoes to do it.

I could get John to do it, but I always walk at 6am and he's usually still asleep. I could get Jack to do it, but have you seen the quality of a 7 year old's shoelace tying? One word - loose.

There's only one solution. A lady-in-waiting.

Perfect. Can't think of how I've done without one until now really. I'll get on to it. Just as soon as I finish reading last Saturday's papers.*

(* Finish Saturday's papers? Pah! This NEVER happens. Oh well . . . hello groin . . . )

September 3, 2010

Puberty Blues Meets Maturity Blues . . .

Starting with giggling into my skivvy at a sex education lecture in Year 6, then reading Puberty Blues in shocked awe by torchlight on a family camping trip and right through the 80s and 90s, going to uni, backpacking around Europe - anything to do with boys and sex was all about How Not To Get Pregnant.

Working up the courage to get the pill, fumbling with inside-out condoms and sometimes whispering urgent prayers to a previously neglected God when a period was two days late, getting pregnant was not an option.

My beautiful, carefree, naive child mother had only just turned 18 when she found out she was pregnant with me in January 1968. By 21 she had 3 children under four. That wasn't going to be me. I wanted to study, travel, have a career - you know, skinny dip in the Mediterranean and drink martinis in Soho and wear high heels and Cue suits to a Very Important Job when I eventually came home to the colonies daaahling.

Then in Melbourne, November 1986, when the hoop earings were big, the hairdos even bigger and George Michael was belting out 'I'm Your Man' (though little did we know he was aiming it at the Pet Shop Boys and not the West End Girls) I had a scary moment.

I was studying for my upcoming HSC exams and eating lots of vegemite toast and Choo-Choo bars when I received a welcome respite - an invitation to the Melbourne Cup from my ex-boyfriend who was still a good mate.

So I brushed my blackened Choo-Choo teeth, washed my greasy swot-vac hair and borrowed a salmon coloured taffeta dress from my Mum which I thought made me look rather fetchingly like Princess Di, but probably more like a giant salmon. In heels.

Twelve hours and as many glasses of an under-appreciated case of Moet later (a nice change from cask Moselle), the mud-drenched heels were flung in a corner, the taffeta was off and I was passed out in the ex-boyfriend's bedroom after an entirely forgettable tumble in the sack.

It wasn't until I'd finished my exams a few weeks later that I realised I was late. Really late. Like a week and a bit LATE! Oh God, it was like Puberty Blues come to life (except with less surf wax and more West Coast Coolers). Sitting on the loo every day, checking my knickers, praying for my period, promising God I'd cut up my fake ID and give up Iced Vo-Vos IF ONLY I WASN'T PREGNANT! We had used a condom, but I have no idea what happened to it. I couldn't even remember if it had stayed on.

Every scenario imaginable went through my head. Could I have a baby? What kind of mother would I make? What about going to uni? Was I destined to repeat my mother's fate? But on the other hand, could I terminate a pregnancy? Despite not having been to church for some years, there was enough residual Catholic-ness in me to reject the idea.

Of course, my period eventually came. I breathed a gigantic sigh of relief and put the whole thing down to HSC stress. What I didn't foresee, however, was that not a year went by when I didn't think about that phantom baby at least once, calculating its age, imagining how different my life would have been. This year, that imaginary baby would have been 23 years old. Good God.

And you know what? It would have been great. I would love to have a 23 year old child. Life would have been different, but I'd have been fine. I know myself and what I'm capable of and I would have coped.

The other thing I didn't foresee was an inability to conceive when I really wanted to in the future. I, like most young women, had it all mapped out. Children were in my future - at least 5 kids - and it would all happen with the greatest of ease.

Instead, life took a different path. Fast forward to the new millenium. It turns out I did end up with 5 children. Three of them, my step-kids, now in their 20s, then my adorable Jack who just turned 7, and finally the much wanted, hard-won, macarena-dancing, trampoline artist inside me who is due on 2 December this year.

But the thing is, I only just got there, just by the spiky little hairs suddenly apprearing on my maturing chinny chinny chin.

It took me 12 months to fall pregnant with Jack when I was 33 and then another 5 years of serious trying to fall pregnant with this one, finally happening with some serious intervention from a doctor on Kent Street. But I'm one of the lucky ones. It so nearly didn't happen. And those 5 years were full of all the ignorance, denial, guilt, pain and grief that so many women feel when they find they can't conceive.

But that's another story . . .
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